Nightclub dancer ‘Ruby’ stands up for Berlusconi outside court

2013-04-04 15:25

Milan – The nightclub dancer at the centre of former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi’s sex trial staged a dramatic protest outside the court today, alleging she had been unfairly pressured as part of a campaign against Berlusconi.

Karima El Mahroug’s emotional and, at times, contradictory statement in defence of Berlusconi follows a protest by parliamentarians from his party outside the court last month as the media magnate tries to have the trial moved away from Milan.

The charges against Berlusconi, which he denies, include paying for sex with El Mahroug, better known under her stage name “Ruby the Heartstealer”, when she was a minor.

She has always denied being a prostitute or having sex with the 76-year-old billionaire during the now-notorious “bunga bunga” evenings at his villa outside Milan, where numerous witnesses have said she was a regular guest.

Carrying a large sign reading “The Ruby case: Are you not interested in the truth any more?” she said she had been used as part of a deliberate campaign against Berlusconi by magistrates and sections of the press.

“Today I realise that there is a war under way against him that I do not feel part of, but which has dragged me in and injures me,” she said, reading a prepared statement.

“I do not want to be a victim of this situation.”

El Mahroug demanded to be allowed to testify in open court but declined to explain to reporters why she had avoided summons to appear at previous hearings.

As recently as December, she failed to appear in court, later turning up in Mexico, where she said she was on holiday.

The trial has been suspended while judges consider Berlusconi’s request to transfer it away from Milan, where he says magistrates are waging a vendetta against him.

The next hearing is due on April 22.

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